(Eds: Adds updates on test positivity rate, re-infection) Chennai, Sep 10 (PTI) Tamil Nadu on Thursday reported 5,528 fresh COVID cases taking the tally to 4.86 lakh while 64 more fatalities pushed the toll to 8,154.
Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said efforts were afoot to bring down the Test Positivity Rate in two districts while Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan asserted that there was no authentic inputs on claims of some coronavirus cured patients getting infected again by the same pathogen.
Of the fresh cases, Chennai logged 991, Coimbatore 440, Salem 300, Tiruvallur 296, Chengelpet 279, Cuddalore 263 and the remainder was scattered across Tamil Nadu.
Out of the over 4.86 lakh cases, Chennai accounted for 1,45,606.
The active cases which fell below the 50,000 mark on Wednesday saw a further marginal dip today and stood at 48,482.
It was on July 18, the active cases were below 50,000 and on September 9, the active cases dipped to 49,203.
With 6,185 patients getting discharged from various hospitals, the recoveries outnumbered fresh cases and 4.29 lakh people have so far got cured.
Those dead include a 27 year old man and a 93 year old woman and in total 58 had co-morbidities.
A total of 85,473 samples were tested and cumulatively 56.30 lakh specimens have been examined.
The Minister said as per the ICMR guidelines, the TPR should ideally be below 10 per cent and by and large Tamil Nadu conformed to the specification.
However, in Krishnagiri and Cuddalore districts, the TPR was little over the threshold and steps were being taken to bring it down soon, he told reporters.
Measures, including aggressive testing, fever camps and speedy identification of Influenza Like Illness cases were being taken up as part of efforts to cut the TPR, he said.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, pointing to active COVID-19 cases dipping below the 50,000 mark said to further consolidate the gains, the public should further extend their cooperation and follow the government advised norms.
The mortality rate stood at 1.68 per cent and efforts are on to further reduce it to one percent, he said.
Asked about claims of some COVID-19 cured people getting re-infected and the number of such cases in Tamil Nadu, the top official said: 'There is no such authentic information to us. Even if such cases emerge, we are fully ready to treat them.' Vijayabaskar said that in tackling coronavirus, Tamil Nadu is in the forefront and the state has done 55 lakh plus confirmatory, RT-PCR tests which is the highest in the country.
'Now, we have 1.42 lakh beds for COVID in Tamil Nadu,' the Minister pointed out adding the bed capacity was added in a staggered manner.
To a question on COVID-19 shield (Oxford University- AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine) clinical trial, he said,'already there is permission for holding the trial.
We are going to begin it. But the decision lies with the ICMR. It is only a trial to understand its efficacy.' Although the government has come up with several relaxations, 'there is no relaxation for social distancing or for wearing masks and maintaining personal hygiene,' Vijayabaskar said.
Tamil Nadu has so far provided healthcare services to about one lakh people under the 'e-sanjeevani' initiative which is the highest in the country, he noted.
Though there are about 3,500 ventilators, the use for it is limited and only the high-flow oxygen nasal cannula therapy was being used mostly in government hospitals.
On the proposed mini clinics, he said expeditious steps were being taken for setting up '2,000 mini clinics' across Tamil Nadu as per an announcement of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, he said.
'About 80 per cent of COVID-19 patients were treated in government hospitals.
However, we are urging private hospitals to increase the bed capacity,' he said answering a query on the possibility of a rise in COVID-19 cases in view of a slew of ongoing relaxations underUnlock 4 phase.
Also, the Minister reiterated the importance of people's cooperation and adherence to COVID-protocol like social distancing to help cut down the spread of coronavirus.
The state-run Stanley hospital here alone has treated about 25,000 patients successfully and in addition to 800 beds there, 400 with oxygen facility was added exclusively for COVID-19.
Be it post COVID-follow up or diagnostic facilities, including ECG and CT-Scan besides laboratory investigations, all were being done in the Stanley hospital for corona patients, he said. PTI VGN ROH ROH